Over the past month our SWE members have been hard at work writing essays to submit to the annual Schlumerger Stilettos to Steel Toes Essay Contest. At the beginning of this month Schlumberger announced the top three essays from each section.
We want to congratulate our top three essay winners:
1. Monica Leszczynski
2. Cassie Megna
3. Jessica Ranni
We had 31 submissions this year so a big thank you to everyone who participated- you are what makes this section great.
In honor of the winners here are the first and second place essays! Enjoy the read :)
First Place: Monica Leszczynski
I have always been determined to achieve my goals and have never been hindered by restrictions placed upon me on the basis of gender. Growing up with three brothers, I have never considered myself to be at a disadvantage, nor have I ever been treated unequally due to the fact that I am a female. In addition to being surrounded by a male dominated household, I have also been accompanied by predominately members of the other sex during my work experience over the past few years. At an early age, I took an interest in my family’s metal fabrication business and was curious as to how exactly the products were manufactured. As I matured and gained hands on experience at the business, my interest in engineering continued to grow. With this interest soon came an observation: I noticed that there was an absence of females on the production floor. Never throughout the course of my day did I encounter women holding welding torches, programming laser machines, operating lathes or milling machines, moving materials, or preparing shipments. Yet, this realization did not deter my innate interest in wanting to be more actively involved on the production floor, but rather, it catalyzed my unique passion to make change in this “man’s world.”
My ultimate goal is to continue my family’s 30 year “Made in America” dedication to manufacturing in Connecticut with a keen focus on recruiting, training, empowering, and promoting women. I am fully committed to altering the views of what women are capable of doing, and firmly believe that females are more than qualified to bring a fresh and perhaps even better approach to the male dominated industrial world. Though at first skeptical of my abilities, my shop floor supervisors today find themselves fighting over who will have me working in their departments next. Now as I dust off my pink steel toe boots after a great day at work, I know I will someday make changes, give women more opportunities, and contribute far more to manufacturing than most males ever will.
Second Place: Cassie Megna
Engineers have endless opportunities at their doorstep. How will you blaze your own trail?
The time ticked slowly as I typed on my keyboard inside the congested area called “my space”. My family pictures lined my desk, the ongoing sounds of machines combined with work chatter circled around me, and the same co-worker in a neighboring cubical talked for hours on end with her boyfriend. Putting it all together I felt as if something was wrong. I cringed every second of hearing her laugh like a high pitched hyena, and I could picture her there; feet up on the desk, twirling her hair, with the wad of gum in her mouth just laughing away the work day as I tried each and every day to get my reports done. It occurred to me then, why am I here?
Why am I not an engineer? A person whose opportunities could line the hallways of this overcrowded workplace. A student who went to school to become a person whose innovation changed the face of exists, whose small idea fixed a lifestyle that no one could imagine themselves without. Biomedical, chemical, mechanical, nuclear, aeronautical, industrial, and civil, these opportunities seemed endless. I see myself in a crowded lecture hall listening to the systems of the human body, scribbling little side notes of how this works or that works and how I can enhance it. The ongoing problems and solutions circling in my head and the only problem that I seem to face is: Do I have enough time to build it all?
Looking back I can see, why my decision was made, because anything is possible, the time ticks away problems and solutions not machines and cubical talk. I create and design what the world needs not what the world wants. I design what the world can’t imagine themselves without. Not paper reports written in stuffed cubicles. I will reinvent my path with prototypes and solutions that change my family, my neighbors, myself, and everyone else’s life for the better. I handed my high heels for steel toed boots and never looked because: I need to innovate. I need to solve. I need to be an engineer.